Does leg feathering add to cold resistance?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Henrik Petersson, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Henrik Petersson

    Henrik Petersson Chillin' With My Peeps

    232
    30
    151
    Jan 9, 2009
    Karlskrona, Sweden
    One would think leg feathering would make a breed more resistant to cold. Yet, when I've read about different breeds, the ones described as cold hardy never have leg feathering; Chanteclers, Wyandottes, Ameracaunas, Orpingtons, etc.

    Is it that leg feathers fail to keep the legs warmer, or is it that the legs are fine in very low temperatures, feathered or not?
     
  2. ghulst

    ghulst Chillin' With My Peeps

    963
    5
    141
    Aug 31, 2008
    Zeeland Michigan
    I don't beleive it would. Most chickens can take a lot of cold. They will eat more as it gets colder. Silkie and frizzle feathered would take the cold harder.
     
  3. Henrik Petersson

    Henrik Petersson Chillin' With My Peeps

    232
    30
    151
    Jan 9, 2009
    Karlskrona, Sweden
    One thing's for sure: small combs are good when it's cold. Our hens got frostbite. [​IMG]
     
  4. wclawrence

    wclawrence Chillin' With My Peeps

    Foot feathers tend to get wet, and wet feathers are colder than bare legs.
    Clean feet are the way to go for cold weather.
    But I am sure partially feathered feet would be good.
     
  5. GardenerGal

    GardenerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,216
    41
    186
    Dec 20, 2008
    Massachusetts
    They aren't any advantage but not a disadvantage either. The base shafts of the feathers are pretty water-repellent and when the feathers themselves get wet they back down against the shaft and don't really get the legs wet. I've seen raindrops run down the feathers away from the legs! OTOH, when the chickens walk in mud, those leg feathers look GROSS! [​IMG]

    Like feathering on pigeon legs, I think the leg feathers on chicken breeds are just a genetic fluke that isn't a liability but no asset either. Except for us chicken owners who think leg feathers are cute. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by